‘Super-agent’ Mino Raiola has develop into probably the most controversial and influential figures in world soccer.
His purchasers embrace among the sport’s greatest stars, from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Erling Braut Haaland and Marco Verratti.
But with the game dealing with an unprecedented monetary disaster due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s mounting scrutiny on brokers, and the huge sums they will earn from transfers.
On a bunch of points, nonetheless, Raiola is vowing to problem the sport’s authorities on behalf of his business.
In a wide-ranging and unique interview, the Dutch-Italian advised BBC Sport:
- he predicted Dortmund striker Haaland will likely be “one of the stars of the next decade”
- he was “bothered” by the notion of brokers, however “my players don’t call me a parasite”
- he “didn’t want to cause any problem” when saying Pogba was sad at Manchester United, saying “whenever I tell my opinion, everyone in England goes berserk”
- brokers are “preparing to go to court” over Fifa’s “ridiculous” plans for regulation of their actions
- hailed the English Football League’s (EFL) latest withdrawal of proposed wage caps for gamers after a tribunal, saying it was a “logical victory”.
Haaland is ‘star of latest technology’
European soccer’s prime golf equipment are dealing with billions of pounds of losses on account of the Covid disaster, however Raiola rejects the suggestion that prime gamers’ wages and switch charges – and subsequently brokers’ commissions – will endure because of this.
“I don’t think there is a correlation,” he advised BBC Sport from his workplace in Monaco.
“For the extraordinary talents, there is always space.”
One such expertise is Borussia Dortmund’s 20 year-old striker Haaland, one of the hottest properties in the game, and amongst 70 gamers on Raiola’s books.
The Norwegian joined Dortmund simply over a yr in the past, however has been linked with a big-money transfer this summer time, and the agent says a bunch of Premier League golf equipment might signal him.
“It is obvious that everybody is looking at Erling as one of those potential new future stars because it’s so difficult to do what he does at his age at his level,” he stated.
“He will be one of the future stars of the next decade because we see that stars such as Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Messi are coming to an age where everyone asks themselves: ‘How long can we still enjoy them?’ So everyone is looking for the new generation.
“Only a most of 10 golf equipment can afford to purchase [Haaland] and provides the platform you prefer to after you have been in Dortmund… and 4 of these golf equipment are in [England].
“I don’t think there’s a sports director or trainer in the world who would say ‘not interested’. It’s like saying: ‘Is there a Formula 1 team who would not be interested in having Lewis Hamilton?'”
Keeping coy on Pogba
Raiola sparked a serious backlash in December when, simply earlier than a vital Champions League match for Manchester United, he urged Pogba’s time at Old Trafford could be over.
“I just expressed an opinion, I didn’t want to cause any problem,” Raiola stated.
“I don’t think that it destabilised anybody, because they had a fantastic run and they were even first, for a period, in the league.
“You suppose large gamers like Paul Pogba – or [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer, who gained every little thing in his life – get destabilised by what Mino Raiola says? Come on, please. But I do not speak about it any extra. It makes life slightly bit boring, however it’s what it’s.”
The outspoken Raiola – who has also represented Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, Italy forward Mario Balotelli and Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, has had run-ins with a series of other managers, including Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, but says he has learned lessons.
He stated: “Whenever I inform my opinion, everybody in England goes berserk, and I’m the worst agent, or the very best agent…and the golf equipment get so careworn from the general public and journalists that I’ve realized to not speak a lot about it.”
‘My job is to get the very best deal’
Claims that Raiola earned £41m from Pogba’s world-record £89m transfer from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016 intensified criticism of agents. But he insists the perception of greed and excess is unfair.
“It’s not good at all times to listen to this identical preconception,” Raiola stated.
“But perhaps the general public also can suppose: ‘If this man is so grasping and so unhealthy, how are his gamers all completely satisfied and stick with him?’
“I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me…how can you judge if I was a good agent for Ibrahimovic? The only one who can judge that is Ibra himself.
“I haven’t got energy and affect… my job is to get the very best deal accomplished for my participant. And not more than that. And doing that’s to offer him with an entire vary of companies that folks do not even know.
“My players don’t call me a parasite, and that’s who I work for. I only care what my players call me.”
Fighting Fifa over rules
Fifa is bringing in new regulations this year, which can see the publication of the cash brokers obtain from their purchasers, caps on commissions, a licensing system, and a clampdown on conflicts of curiosity.
Football’s world governing physique has stated that deregulating brokers in 2015 was “a mistake”, and it needs to deal with “abusive and excessive practices”.
Raiola – who’s president of the Football Forum, an organisation set as much as symbolize the pursuits of main brokers and their gamers – is vehemently opposed.
“We are not talking to Fifa any more,” he stated, criticising the extent to which brokers had been consulted on the brand new proposals.
“I think at the end, there will be a court case.
“I’ve no drawback with any transparency. There are governments that test us fiscally, legally daily.
“What we have a problem with is the people that don’t know how a transfer works, trying to make rules that are ridiculous.”
Raiola says the crackdown on brokers has been “used by Fifa to hide their own problems”.
He stated: “Yes we need to change the football world, but we want to be a part of that, to be respected, because our job is to represent the players and their interests.
“We’re not saying we’re excellent, however it can’t be regulated by Fifa.
“Nobody looks at the interest of the player in this. There’s only an interest [in] saying: ‘Let’s attack the agents because they took too much money out of the game.'”
In an announcement, Fifa stated it had carried out “a very robust consultation process” together with with brokers organisations.
The governing physique stated: “Fifa has observed widespread conflicts of interests, and a market driven by speculation rather than solidarity and redistribution across the football pyramid.
“Fifa has the accountability to handle and regulate these issues. We are aiming for a system of balanced and affordable regulation, as a substitute of the regulation of the jungle at present in place.”
Last season, Premier League clubs paid out more than £263m to agents.
Salary cap ‘victory’ and scrapping relegation
Raiola has been a fierce critic of the English Football League’s wage caps in Leagues One and Two, and praised the scrapping of them earlier this month following what he known as a “logical” decision by an independent arbitration panel.
He stated: “There aren’t any wage caps for CEOs that run large or small corporations, there is no such thing as a wage caps for actors, there isn’t any wage cap for a Banksy!
“So why should there be a cap on talent of football players?”
Raiola insists deep-rooted issues with soccer’s monetary sustainability pre-date the pandemic, and that radical concepts ought to now be thought of.
He stated: “I would like to give clubs the possibility [over] the next three years, because of Covid, to maybe find a system where in some countries [they] say, ‘Listen, you know what, let’s not relegate any more’, to have a more stable environment to build your reserves.
“In France, Spain, and Italy, it’s a actual monetary catastrophe for those who go down. And that places golf equipment in a careworn place, the place perhaps they can not decide for the longer term, however based mostly solely on the quick time period.”
“The whole system must be checked out.
“In the Football Forum, we are not there to to kill clubs. We should try to be more modern and to sit down with all involved parties and to see where is it that we can help each other.”